Former Chicago Bulls: Jimmy Butler no longer shooting 3’s with Heat

Jimmy Butler (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
Jimmy Butler (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /

Former Chicago Bulls star small forward/shooting guard Jimmy Butler is putting on a show this season with the Miami Heat, just not from three.

Yes, this point might be a bit hyperbolic considering the former Chicago Bulls star small forward Jimmy Butler was never the most high-volume three-point shooter for this team (or especially around the NBA). When he was a member of the Bulls at the outset of his career, “Jimmy G. Buckets” was best known for his two-way ability as one of the best wings in the NBA.

But Butler is still a very capable shooter, especially from inside the three-point arc. He can get to the rim effectively and is one of the better volume mid-range forwards left in the league today. And there were a handful of seasons where Butler shot better than 36 or 37 percent from beyond the arc.

However, this is not one of those seasons for Butler where he is frequently trying his hand from downtown, and/or doing so efficiently. So far in his inaugural season with the Miami Heat, Butler is shooting below 25.0 percent from beyond the arc. And he’s only averaging 3.0 three-point field goal attempts per 100 possessions this season, which is the lowest mark of his career since the 2012-13 season, when he was still a member of the Bulls.

While volume doesn’t always tend to correlate to success from downtown in terms of shooting percentages for Butler throughout his NBA career, he definitely needs to get in a better rhythm if he’s going to get more looks from deep for the remainder of this season. Butler is still shooting 45.6 percent from the field and 83.7 percent from the free-throw line, which are both solid numbers.

But he is without a single three-point attempt in each of his last four games played. And we’re looking at a double-digit streak of games for Butler with the Heat where he hasn’t taken more than one three-point attempt in a single contest.

Butler’s true shooting percentage of 58.5 this season is both very solid, and the third best mark of his career. Just because he’s not frequently or efficiently hitting his tries from downtown, he’s still a productive primary scorer for the Heat.

So far this season, Butler played in 56 games in a Heat uniform. He’s averaging 20.2 points per game, 6.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.6 blocks. At one point, Butler was a dark horse MVP contender to challenge the likes of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, Houston Rockets guard James Harden, Los Angeles Lakers point forward LeBron James, etc.

It is an interesting trend that Butler’s three-point shot has almost gone away with a Heat team that has so many floor spacers around him. Parts of his supporting cast like Duncan Robinson, rookie Tyler Herro, and wing Jae Crowder, have all been extremely efficient three-point shooters this season.

Bulls player grades from 2019-20 season. dark. Next

While the Bulls were knocked out of the NBA’s restart after finishing their portion of the 2019-20 season with a record of 22-43, the Heat are trying to challenge for a top four seed in the Eastern Conference standings once playoff time arrives. Butler will be a driving force for those efforts for the Heat down the stretch at Disney World this year.